Hassen Rachedi - HRS

CEO and founder

Every hero has an extraordinary story – here is that of Hassen Rachedi, CEO and founder of HRS (Hydrogen Refueling Solutions), who has been working in the hydrogen field for five years.

Léa: Can you tell me which field you were in before becoming involved with hydrogen?

I trained as a boiler maker and started my career doing temp work as a pipe fitter and foreman. After having been trained as account manager, in 2004, I decided to start my own business, at the time called TSM (Tuyauterie Service Maintenance), in the Grenoble area. The company became involved with hydrogen in 2008.

Peter Parker became Spiderman after a bite by a radioactive spider; what bit you with hydrogen?

In 2008, I came across hydrogen when a major French operator asked me to build hydrogen filling stations, mainly composed of pipe work.Over ten years or so, we developed real know-how, to such an extent that in 2019, we changed our strategy to focus on developing turn-key stations incorporating design, installation and maintenance. TSM became Hydrogen Refueling Solutions and in February 2021, to take the venture further, we raised a record €97.3M on the Euronext Growth market to accelerate our development.

Batman has the Joker, Peter Pan, Capitain Hook … what are you fighting against day-to-day?

I am fighting FOR the well-being of my employees.So that they enjoy their day-to-day work and give their best, and that they make the most of life! I have introduced the four-day working week since 5 December 2022!

Is hydrogen the future?

Electric mobility is likely to play an increasing role in the fight against climate change and air pollution, as it generates zero CO2 and particles emissions during use. Both the electric vehicle technologies developed and marketed by car manufacturers are important and must be combined: battery powered vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. I am convinced that hydrogen has a key role to play in energy transition. Green hydrogen will give us energy independence, as we can produce it, store it and use it on demand.Hydrogen makes perfect sense in the heavy transport field (trains, trucks, etc.) and for intensive uses (forklifts, taxis, etc.). In transportation, using hydrogen makes it possible to push the boundaries of battery-powered technologies and achieve better electric vehicle performance in terms of range (500 to 700 kilometres), charging time (5 minutes approximately) and vehicle space. This makes it a complementary solution to batteries for heavy vehicles and commercial fleets, which cover long distances, with intensive use, and need sufficient payload. The two technologies therefore needn’t compete with one another!Ultimately, what is important is to highlight that fuel cell vehicles will give consumers purchasing power with the kilo of hydrogen in 2023 estimated at €4 to €5 per kilo at the pump. Given that a private car carries 6 kilos for a range of 700 km, a full tank will be under €30.

Why is HRS a pioneer in its field?

The business was started in 2008 and initially we were hydrogen station integrators for a major operator.We are a pure player in hydrogen refuelling stations. We are dedicated to developing this product to produce it on a large scale and make hydrogen more accessible.With the arrival on the market of fuel cell vehicles, developing refuelling stations is a real need. Deployment of vehicles and stations needs to be synchronised. With our new production site, which will be delivered this year, still in the Grenoble area, we will triple our production capacity: 180 stations a year will be built, that’s the equivalent of all those installed in Europe in the last ten years!Research and development are also crucial aspects in our company. We have built a 2,000 sq. metre test zone and are involved in several major European projects for the development of our industry.

If you were a super hero, who would you be?

One with a great capacity for endurance! I would say Aquaman!

In conclusion?

I would like to conclude with the word “cooperation”. In my view, this is key to the emergence of our industry. It is the cooperation between the various stakeholders of the hydrogen value chain (producers, manufacturers, equipment providers...) that will help create ecosystems and accelerate the deployment of our fuel chain.

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